Sharp vs Flat
Western music is all about musical notes. A note represents the duration of a sound and also its pitch. It is the pitch of a sound that tells us how high or low the note is. In addition to pitch, it is the duration of a note that is very important. Notes are always played for a specific duration, to create the desired effect. There are in total seven notes though there are sub divisions called flat and sharp notes within these notes. Many people remain confused between sharp and flat notes as they fail to understand their differences. This article attempts to find out the differences between Sharp and Flat.
Musicians normally do not talk in terms of frequencies and wavelengths, and they talk in terms of notes only. The seven natural notes are A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. These notes fall within a single octave. However, a budding musician becomes confused when he sees 12 notes in an octave instead of these 7. This is because of the addition of 5 notes called sharp and flats. When a note is lower by half a step than the natural note, it is represented by a flat sign. Most of the natural notes are apart by a whole step though there are also notes that are only half step apart. It is when the space between two notes is a whole step that there can be an additional note between them that is represented as a sharp or a flat note.
When you see a sharp sign, you immediately know that the note is one ‘half step’ higher while when you see a flat sign, you realize that the note is one half step lower than the natural note. It has to be remembered that the distance between two natural notes is a whole step while that between a sharp or flat note and a whole note is just half step. Thus, C sharp is half step higher than the natural C note while C flat is one ‘half step’ lower than the natural note.
What is the difference between Sharp and Flat Notes?
• Adding a flat or a sharp to a note has the effect of lowering or raising it by half a step.
• Add a flat to D note and it becomes D-flat while adding a sharp to E is akin to making it D-sharp.
• A, B, C, D, etc. are naturals without any sharps or flats added to them.